The Lakes Region of New Hampshire is well known for its wintertime skiing and snow sports, but it morphs into a lush paradise for nature lovers and thrill seekers during the other three seasons. Breathtaking views greet you at every turn, and the whole region becomes one big adventure playground for kids and adults alike.
Charming waterfront towns on Lake Winnipesaukee and its eight neighboring lakes comprise the Lakes Region, and each has something special to offer visiting families. Outdoor fun abounds, from hiking to zip-lining, animal encounters to drive-in movies. When the weather sends you running for cover, there are lots of great restaurants, unique shops, game-filled arcades, and even a "castle" with a secret room.
Here are some of the top things to do during your Lakes Region family getaway, with options for every age and interest—but don't try to do it all in one go. There's so much to experience at each stop, and once you've discovered the magical pull of New Hampshire's lakes, your family will likely want to return again and again.
Portsmouth, New Hampshire is one of my favorite destinations for a quick family getaway. Although we've visited the charming New England seacoast city several times, on this occasion we went specifically to experience its history. With a kid-friendly living history museum and numerous historic destinations around town, early American life comes alive in ways that are fun for kids and the whole family. We spent a day of walking, playing and sailing through old times, with a side of foodie goodness—a perfect family day in Portsmouth.
Each year on or around April 22, Boston comes alive with many special events to celebrate Earth Day. Kids learn about protecting the environment and how the entire family can become more green. From community service projects like the DCR’s Park Serve Day, to festivals at the Spellman Museum and EcoTarium, to a celebration at the Franklin Park Zoo, families can get outside, have fun, and make a difference.
We're finally seeing signs of spring. On the farm at this time of year, there is new life everywhere, and the sheep are due for haircuts. That means it's shearing festival time!
Locally, Drumlin Farm and Gore Place celebrate sheepshearing season with big shindigs. (It’s not that strange, really—think of the big deal you made about your child’s first haircut.) If you want to make a fun family day trip or even a weekend getaway out of it, there are also sheepshearing and wool festivals in nearby Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Western Massachusetts.
Whether you’re planning a skiing and snowboarding trip in the White Mountains of New Hampshire or you’re a world-class armchair traveler, the Ice Castle is a must-see on your Lincoln, NH winter itinerary. These glimpses of Ice Castles New Hampshire's magnificence are for your enjoyment, enchantment and daydreams. Maybe you'll even be inspired to create your own ice palace at home.
One of the sweetest things about living in New England is being able to experience maple sugaring first hand. Bostonians don’t have to go very far to enjoy maple sugar festivals, take tours of farms, watch sap being boiled down in sugar houses, or learn to tap maple trees.
Of course, the best part is tasting the final product – in syrup form poured over pancakes, as candies, and even in hot dogs (!). Celebrate maple sugaring season with special events and visits to these local maple farms.
There's no better place on the East Coast for a family to hit the slopes than Vermont. With dozens of downhill and cross country ski resorts, the state offers more options for skiers of every age and ability than anywhere else. But some are especially well suited for families, with ski and board lessons, special family activities just for kids, and child care options for parents.
Okemo, Stratton, Sugarbush, Smuggler's Notch, and Stowe are the big names in Vermont skiing, but there are some lesser known gems too. With a parent's eye to what families are looking for, we've reviewed the top ten best mountain resorts for family ski vacation in the Green Mountain State. Find all our ski reviews in our Ski and Snow Sports Guide.
Living in SoCal without ever visiting Big Bear would be like living in SoCal without ever going to Disneyland; and until this past weekend, I was guilty of that very sin. It was time for my family to take a ski trip that was more than a day trip and enjoy the beauty of the mountains around Big Bear Lake - a spot so peaceful and alpine that it's hard to imagine it's less than three hours from the Los Angeles area. But a place as popular as Disneyland needs a plan worthy of Disneyland; if you want to spend more time skiing than waiting, I urge you to read on.
We're glad you're here at Mommy Poppins Boston, your free online resource for everything for families and kids in the greater Boston area. We'd love to hear from you with any questions or suggestions! — Tara